Coronavirus Changes Everything

 Welcome back.  Hotels were full from Owasso to Coffeyville this past weekend for a variety of events and I was in the thick of things so I hardly know where to start this week. Besides the big college basketball tournament going on in Bartlesville which many enjoyed there were other reasons it was hard to find a place to stay in the area.

Leadership Oklahoma had a meeting in Bartlesville this past weekend and they booked sixty rooms at the Hilton Garden Inn downtown. Then there also were dozens of workers from Coffeyville where a big construction job is going on at the refinery and hotels there are full as well. In fact, lodging was so hard to come by that many of teams from the basketball tournament and their fans had to stay in Owasso hotels. As you can imagine, local restaurants report that business has been great with waiting lines at some places.

You may know that the local officials of this tournament have said that this will be the last one. The event has been going on for twelve years from its beginning as the Lone Star Tournament and every year it has attracted plenty of fans and dozens of out of town sportswriters. Hundreds of games have been played and spectators have come and gone over the years but on the last day of the last game I found one man who has attended all of the games.

Buck West is a retired plumber for the school system in Bartlesville who has gone to every game, both boys and girls, for the past twelve years.  Buck told me he just loves basketball and thinks that the Bartlesville High School gym is a great place to watch games. This super fan also said that the food is good and he hopes that the people organizing the tournament will bring it back at some point in the future. I spoke with the folks at the box office and they verified that Buck has been a season ticket holder every year. Friends, that’s dedication and with the passing this week of two well known men who were devoted to both their families and to our town, dedication is a word that should be spelled in capital letters when we’re talking about these guys.

Douglas Whistler was a Nowata boy who went on to open his own dental practice which became so popular that people came from miles away to see him. He was also a Sunday school teacher and a deacon at First Baptist Church in Bartlesville. The massive church was full of mourners for this well-loved fellow.

At 12:45 this past Saturday morning another well-known and I’ll add well loved man passed away. Ken Dunlap grew a small local construction company into a big one for sure. At one time Dunlap Construction had over one hundred men working on projects at Phillips Petroleum Company and another fifty plus building houses, churches and schools all over town. In the 1960s,70s and 80s the name Dunlap Construction meant quality. With their passing this has been a sad week for many of us.

Now on to a happier tale. There was no coronavirus scare in Coffeyville, Kansas this past weekend as hundreds of people showed up for the 4th annual Interstate Farm and Home Show. I can tell you from personal experience this was the best show yet and I look forward to seeing all my Kansas friends again next year. If you weren’t able to make it to Coffeyville, Oklahoma’s largest home and garden show is coming up this weekend at the Tulsa fairgrounds along with a big gun show. I’ll be at the gun show but if you plan to attend be prepared, parking will be hard to find with two big events going on at the same time. With that said I hope to see you there!

I’m closing this week with two quotes from Waite Phillip’s book of epigrams that he carried in his pocket until the day he died:

The most effective sermon is expressed in deeds instead of words. W.P.

Nothing in this world is permanent but change. W.P.

I think they fit Ken and Doug.

Till next time I’ll see ya down the road……

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